Venue: Council Chamber
Contact: Catherine Mackenzie
Apologies for Absence
To receive apologies for absence.
Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Mrs S Adoh (Deputy Cabinet Member for Housing), D Carroll (Cabinet Member for Youth and External Partnerships), C Etholen (Deputy Cabinet Member for Digital Development and Customer Service), T Green (Chairman of Council), M Harris (Deputy Cabinet Member for Economic Development and Regeneration) and D Knights (Chairman of the Improvement and Review Commission).
Declarations of Interest
To receive any disclosure of disclosable pecuniary interests by Members relating to items on the agenda. If any Member is uncertain as to whether an interest should be disclosed, he or she is asked if possible to contact the District Solicitor prior to the meeting.
Members are reminded that if they are declaring an interest, they should state the nature of that interest whether or not they are required to withdraw from the meeting.
There were no declarations of interest.
Arrangements for Transition to a New Unitary Council
The Leader of the Council invited the Chief Executive and Head of Democratic Legal and Policy Services to give a presentation directly to Members due to the complexity of the subject, and in light of new information that had been provided at a meeting with the Ministry earlier the same day. The Chief Executive of the Council gave a comprehensive presentation to update the meeting on the background to the processes that had been undertaken thus far in relation to a new single unitary council for Buckinghamshire. She confirmed during her introduction to the report before Cabinet that the five councils to be replaced were Aylesbury Vale District Council, Buckinghamshire County Council, Chiltern District Council, South Bucks District Council and Wycombe District Council.
Cabinet recalled that on Thursday 1 November 2018, James Brokenshire, Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, had published a written ministerial statement with his decision about unitary councils in Bucks. The Secretary of State's decision was to establish a new single unitary district council for Buckinghamshire, to come into effect in April 2020.
The Chief Executive confirmed that following the ministerial statement on 1 November 2018, the Leaders and Chief Executives of all five of the councils and representatives from the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) had held meetings with regards to discussing the content of the Structural Change Order. It was noted that on Thursday 3 January 2019, the MHCLG, had communicated to the Leaders and Chief Executives the content of the Structural Change Order. A summary of the decisions made by the Secretary of State was set out in the report, including the Districts’ view, County view, and the decisions of the Secretary of State.
The report before Cabinet set out the context of the key decisions which would be contained within the draft Structural Change Order and explained the parliamentary processes. The main decisions were:
• the name of the new council would be Buckinghamshire Council
• the new council would start on 1 April 2020
• there would be 147 councillors in the new council – three members per ward.
• the Leader of the County Council would chair the Shadow Executive and a Deputy Chair will be chosen from one of the members of the Shadow Executive nominated by the District Councils.
• the Leaders had agreed by consensus that “twin hatters” would only have one vote on the Shadow Authority
• the Chief Executive of the County Council would lead the implementation team
• the first term of the council would be for five years, until May 2025
• there would be a boundary review to look at wards and the number of members, with the potential for members numbers to decrease for the 2025 elections.
• elections would be every four years after 2025
During detailed discussions, Cabinet expressed considerable concern in relation to the decision to specially identify the Leader of the Shadow Executive, without the option to have a democratic vote ... view the full minutes text for item 75.